EASY MAGAZINE: Warrens one with nature
It is no wonder that Camilla and Simon Warren love nature. They are the proud owners of the picturesque St Nicholas Abbey.
Listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the “Seven Wonders Of Barbados”, the property has attracted several thousand visitors a year. Amongst the mahogany trees are box, cabbage palm, silk cotton, and avocado trees.
This house is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere. It is similar to the English Jacobean manor houses of the first half of the seventeenth century, the period between the Tudor and Georgian styles, beginning in the reign of James I.
St Nicholas Abbey is currently a well preserved museum, successfully recreating 18th-century plantation life complete with Wedgwood pottery, Chippendale furniture, curvilinear Dutch gables with tall finials of carved coral stone and corner chimneys. The entrance portico, Chinese Chippendale staircase and cedar panelling are later additions to the home.
The abbey was bought by Simon’s dad, Bajan architect Larry Warren, in 2006, and the couple live there with their three-year-old twin boys, Henry and Arthur.
Running the abbey isn’t easy, especially when it is cane grinding season and the numbers of visitors increase.
“The boys are very demanding but we try to get it done all in time,” said British-born Camilla, who has a degree in law and economics.
“We are eternally grateful for the help of my mum Joan and our nanny Linda Cumberbatch [who was around since Simon was ‘a wee lad’].”
In the butterfly-filled herb gardens, the twins played while their parents spoke to EASY magazine. The boys are fascinated with tractors and monkeys which invade the garden. The twins have started nursery and Arthur loves to play the piano. The couple who will soon celebrate five years of marriage, said they were close friends first but after they wed they wanted to start a family right away.
“I knew from the time that we got together that we wanted kids,” she said, laughing as Simon made one of his famous “cheesy jokes” about wanting to have even more children.
Simon, who went to Albert College as an engineering student, also writes poetry. He said that for him family was everything.
“My wife is really my rock,” he said.
Simon speaks with a lisp. He was involved in a serious accident off the West Coast in 2001.
“He had to be airlifted off Glitter Bay and then he was sent off to Colorado for a period of rehabilitation,” Camilla explained.
Simon is a morning guy and Camilla a night owl couple. Camilla said that going forward the couple want to continue producing the family’s brand
“I would like to get involved in wedding events using the Abbey as the perfect place for romance,” she said as she remembered Simon’s proposal in Paris, France, on October 12, 2012.
When the romantic mood hits them they pop down to a restaurant on the West Coast or take in a movie.
“It isn’t easy with twins,” Camilla added. “But our family means everything to us,” she said as Arthur chatted in the background. ((MR)